Palin Cover Encourages Conservative Whining

Newsweek Palin

The picture of Sarah Palin on the cover of Newsweek has elicited some selective outrage from the right. In a post entitled Newsweek Photo of Palin Shows Media Bias and Sexism, David Brody begins “For all of you who live in a dream world and think the mainstream media isn’t biased, get a load of the latest cover of Newsweek…”

This is far more a case of conservatives loving to play the victim than anything meaningful. Max Blumenthal has written far more on how Palin plays on such victimization:

By emphasizing her own crises and her victimization by the “liberal media,” Palin has established an invisible, indissoluble bond with adherents of that subculture — so visceral it transcends any rational political analysis. As a result, her career has become a vehicle through which the right-wing evangelical movement feels it can express its deepest identity in opposition both to secular society and to its representatives in the Obama White House. Palin is perceived by its leaders — and followers — not as another cynical politician or even as a self-promoting celebrity, but as a kind of magical helper, the God-fearing glamour girl who parachuted into their backwater towns to lift them from the drudgery of everyday life, assuring them that they represented the “Real America.”

The cover is somewhat sexist but if  Sarah Palin did not want to be shown in pictures of this nature she should not have posed for this photo. Sure Newsweek could have used a number of other pictures available of her but Palin’s own behavior encourages covers such as this. Her winks and use of sex appeal are part of her act. Besides, as Steve M. points out, such sexist cover shots are hardly limited to conservatives.


A sexist photo or article hardly proves media bias in any one ideological direction. You can also ask Hillary Clinton about this.

The claim by David Brody that this cover proves any sort of liberal bias on the part of Newsweek or the mainstream media is also contradicted by this report of what appears to be anti-Obama conservative bias at Newsweek. It is possible to show some examples of bias in all directions, but there is hardly any case to support the conservative myth of the mainstream media having an overall liberal bias. The myth of a liberal media is just another example of conservatives claiming to be victims.

Update: Sarah Palin is also attacking the picture on Facebook.

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  1. 1
    Leslie Parsley says:

    Um, sure she doesn’t look like a good selection for someone who would be meeting with heads of state? Of ourse she had to approve the photo – where is Brody coming from? I heard a discussion a few months ago that a survey showed that, for the most part, the media was more conservative than liberal. May have come Pew Research.

  2. 2
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Palin approved the photo when it was taken for an interview in Runner’s World when she was still a candidate for Vice-President. The content of the interview was primarily non-political, it was a discussion of her interest in physical fitness and her own running/jogging. The intent was political of course, she was pandering shamefully to the magazine’s readership in her eagerness to prove she was ‘one of them.’
    Newsweek re-used the photo, and under current laws of fair use they wouldn’t need Palin’s permission. Just that of the publisher of the magazine in which it originally appeared and possibly (depending on the creative rights policy of Runner’s World) the original photographer. If Runner’s World claims to own everything produced for publication, they wouldn’t even need the photographer’s permission.
    Brody (and Palin herself) are making the argument that the use of the photo out of context from its original purpose is sexist. They contend the usage on the front cover of Newsweek in connection to a political story unjustly represents her as a pandering bimbo… and further contend such unjust representation is sexist.
    At the risk of sounding sexist myself, she really doesn’t need media third parties to represent her as just that. She does a very good job all on her own without help.

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